The Importance of School Readiness

United Way of Roanoke Valley Hosts Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam

First Lady Pamela Northam returns to the region, discussing the importance of school readiness. Mrs. Northam joins local education leaders for a visit to two Franklin County innovative education sites Thursday,  8/28.

Northam, a former pediatric occupational therapist, science educator, and longtime education advocate, will see firsthand both the successes and challenges of these varied programs and learn about the local efforts to improve access to quality care and early education for area families.

Media representatives are invited to join Thursday, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the following stops:

Site 1:

Sonnia Jones Family Day Home

Contact : Sonnia Jones, 540.489.7873

40 Muse Court Lane, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Site 2

Rocky Mount Elementary School

Contact: Brenda McGrath, 540.871.7012

555 School Board Road, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

As the lead agency for one of 11 pilot communities collaborating in the statewide Preschool Development Grant, United Way of Roanoke Valley/Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke is working with the Commonwealth to better prepare Virginia’s children to succeed in school and in life. The grant is intended to strengthen the early childhood care and education system by actively working with birth-to-five providers to increase access and strengthen quality. Currently in our region, 120 early childcare and education sites are participating in the grant program, representing more than 600 teachers.

Statewide, there are 604 sites and 3,617 teachers participating.

“As we continue leading activities that support increasing access for children in high quality early education programs, we want to be very thoughtful about the importance of parent choice.  It is wonderful to be able to visit a variety of programs who all have the same goal of ensuring our children are safe, loved, and ready for success when they enter school,” said Vivien McMahan, Director of Early Learning Strategies at United Way of Roanoke Valley. “We are pleased to continue working with all sites as they make every effort to support families and prepare children for lifelong success.”